Summary of “Love After Love” by Derek Walcott
A person’s inner soul always loves it more than any other person. But he often ignores his real self and values the other person more than it. He doesn’t appreciate himself just because of his love for the other person. But to live with the new love, i.e. love for himself, the person must forget his previous love which he developed for the other person. Then only he can see his own worth and praise himself more than anyone else.
The poet has tried to suggest ways for the person to get rid of the love for the other person. It is urged the person/reader to take out all the love letters, photographs, desperate notes that he may have written or which carry the memories of his past love and remove them. By removing these symbols, the poet wants to free the reader from the burden of a past relationship which will come in his way of self-love if he doesn’t get rid of it. Also, the person/reader should try to imbibe self love by capturing his own lost self-image from the mirror. It is a symbolic way to suggest that the person must start thinking well about his own self and attain sense of self-respect and love.
The central idea of the poem revolves around a person/reader who has disliked himself for a long period of time. The poet has inspired him through his words to accept himself as he is and stop wanting to be like someone else.